Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

Let the “It’s the end of 2011!” posts begin!

I figure someone has to start the trend, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff to publish before the end of the year, so today we’ll begin with my Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011.

Needless to say, the blog has grown exponentially over the last year, and I’d like to think that with each and every passing day I’m reaching out and helping one more person achieve their fitness, physique or strength-related goals.

And with that being said, let’s get into my Top 10!

10. Q&A: Back Soreness After Deadlifts

Have you ever wondered if you’re doing more harm than good when deadlifting?

This reader wanted to know if that soreness he feels in his back after deadlifting is ok, and I do my best to answer his question.

9. REAL Turkish Get-ups

I had totally forgotten about this one!

Anyone remember the abomination of Bob Harper trying to “coach” people on Turkish get-ups?

This was a response to his horrible YouTube video, along with instructional videos that, you know, actually show people how to do the lift safely and effectively. 🙂

8. Should You Crunch?

What happens when you ask industry experts such as Dewey Nielsen, Stuart McGill and Joe Dowdell when, or if, you should crunch?

You get some really cool feedback and insight, that’s what!

7. My Top 10 Fitness Books

Almost every single day, someone asks me “What book(s) should I be reading?”

To help answer the question more thoroughly, I wrote this post. Now all I have to do is shoot them a link to let them know what my Top 10 are!

After looking at this post, though, I may need to revise it a bit – I’ve read some good stuff this past year that could make the new “cut.”

6. Pick Your Deadlifting Poison

When you deadlift, you typically miss at one of two points – the top or the bottom of the lift.

But how can you change that?

What assistance exercises can you pick to improve your weaknesses?

If you want to bring that deadlift up to snuff, you should definitely check this post out.

5. Bench Press

I’ve obviously developed some keen readers – when a 7000 word thesis on the bench press barely cracks the Top 5 posts for the year, I know you guys are more savy than the average fitness enthusiast!

Regardless, this is an incredibly thorough post, and if you bench press (or teach it to your clients and athletes), it’s definitely worth your time.

4. Knee Crepitus Q&A

I should probably listen to my web guy more often.

He always tells me what to do, but I’m not always the best at taking his advice.

However, when I actually do what he says, a random topic like knee crepitus becomes the 4th most popular post on my site in the past year.

Go figure.

3. Fat Loss Training 101

Literally the first post I wrote this year, I give away all the goods on this one.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how we develop fat loss programming at IFAST, you need to review this piece.

And if your goal is to get leaner and meaner in 2012, the principles outlined herein will work as well this year as they did last year!

2. Squat

And finally, we have what I consider to be the two most comprehensive and detailed posts I’ve ever written.

If you want to squat more weight, with better technique and less pain, read this post.

I leave no stone unturned.

1. Deadlift

The creme-de-la-creme of posts, my dissertation on the deadlift wasn’t just the most popular post I’ve ever written, but the traffic to this page is nearly DOUBLE anything else I’ve ever written.

Of all the pieces I’ve ever written, I may be the most proud of this one. It’s literally everything I know about deadlifting crammed into one information-packed post.

But Wait – I need your help!?!?!?!

So there you have it – my Top 10 posts for 2011.

But if you guys know me, you know I want 2012 to be even bigger and better than ever before.

In the comments section below, please answer this one simple questions:

What would you like to see next year?

More short blog posts?

More long blog posts?

More articles for sites like Elite FTS, T-Nation, etc.?


Video posts?

Feel free to be as long- (or short) winded as you’d like.

And to give you a bit of incentive, I’m going to give away some free swag to a few lucky winners, just for helping me out.

Thanks for a great 2011 everyone – you guys are the best!


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  1. I’d like to see more posts similar to “Training the TALL Athlete” where training is designed to meet special considerations, especially for athletes from a wide variety of sports such as fencers, skiers, rock climbing, etc.

  2. I’d love to see more videos where you either break down a lift or even other random topics. You usually go into great depth explaining whatever you’re covering in the videos you’ve uploaded, and if you’re as visual as I am, you catch nuances that you wouldn’t from a blog post.

    Also, I love the Top 10 Fitness Books post, though they’re obviously mostly directed to the fitness professional/trainer. If you could do a list for the average fitness enthusiast who’d like to gain a better understanding of programming and other topics, but doesn’t need to go as in depth as some of those books do, that’d be cool too.

  3. I like the blend of short, informative but also entertaining posts that cover your point of view or share a personal touch as well as the longer information heavy essay type posts.

    I read fitness blogs for entertainment and ideas, not so much as a primary source of information (as a trainer I think I would be doing myself and my clients a disservice if I did), but I appreciate you would have a big readership of fitness enthusiasts who appreciate you digging through the research heavy material and bringing them the information neatly packaged.

    In short, keep doing what you are doing. Your blog has gone from strength to strength this year.

  4. Hi Mike.

    First thanks for the great work this year. Really amazing blog posts and content.
    For 2012 I`d like to hear 1 or 2 more podcasts, because your way to do these was great.
    Keep the blog the way you did and it will stay amazing.

  5. I enjoyed all of the podcasts a lot, so it would be awesome to bring them back.

    What else would I like to read? Anatomy for beginner trainers, what-makes-a-great-trainer kind of articles, and some stuff that goes on in your life (A Day in the Life of Mike Robertson).

    Thank you for all the great info! I’m a personal trainer myself and not very powerlifting-oriented, but I have still gotten tons of valuable info and power for mindset. Keep on rocking!

  6. Bret contreras just posted an article on his site called, “The Three Most Idiotic Things I’ve Done as a Personal Trainer”. Was an awesome read, it would be cool if you did an article like this.

    Would be really cool if you also did an article soon talking about the new things you learned and changed this year in 2011, and maybe another article about things that you are doing differently now vs. in the past or things that you did in the past that you now look back on and think, what was i doing or thinking back then.

  7. Program design. Everybody gives the first month and leaves it. What next and why? After a ton of philosphy I really need sets and reps. Or what resources really explain pro design. Thanks for all of the info this year anyway Mike. All the best.

  8. My own Mike Robertson Wish List? This is better than Christmas!
    All kidding aside I’ve thought about how I can best understand why I gravitate toward and learn more from you and Eric Cressey than anyone else I read. What I’ve come up with is a pretty good basis to go by as for what I’d like to see in the future.
    You don’t just tell me (i.e. you are ignorant when it comes to the deadlift, you’re doing it wrong, here’s how to do it the right way or if you’re weak and skinny or I’m betting you are, you need to drink milk and squat) , it feels like you’re sharing with me (i.e. here’s a common misconception or here’s what you might be missing or here’s what I’ve found to work). The absolute best feature of all of your articles is the inclusion of your philosophy and not leaving out nuances. Your quotes “Have a reason for everything you do,” and “The answer is almost never yes or no, but instead ‘it depends.’,” echo throughout your writing and training philosophy.

    That being said, here’s a few articles I’d love to see and post styles I’d like to see:
    -Videos with Lance or Little Stevie demonstrating some more of your favorite “corrective” lifts and techniques which there’s poor or little instruction on.
    I loved the 90-90 split squats, bulgarian split squat and eccentric quasi isometric videos. I find that a lot of people and myself are hard pressed to find great cueing or videos on posterior chain or upper back lifts; it’s great to hear about how much a pull through, single leg rdl, bulgarian split squat eqi, cuban press, scarecrow and such can help and usually they can be figured out eventually but cueing and a video really helps
    -An article or post on the art of cueing
    Tight and tall and such is great when you can only consciously focus on one or two things during a lift and your other cues (and the reasons behind them) do a lot of good. I’ve seen people’s technique improve vastly just with the right phrase or thought, so an article about your favorite cues long or short would be great.
    -An article or post about what I probably don’t need to be doing (but am)
    Your articles about what I likely don’t need but think I do (can someone bring up a rotator cuff and then not get pointed to pushups, face-pulls and shrugs?) teach me a ton. Something like how you always mention often hammering your chest will get up your bench, but you probably don’t need to do that and start getting in dedicated upper back work but obviously that you haven’t gone over a ton.
    -An in depth “stretching” article that goes beyond normal techniques
    I am talking about an article which mentions eqi’s, which mentions diaphragmatic breathing and “bucket” breathing, which mentions and explains low load long duration stretches
    -Fascia and you
    I’d LOVE to know more about fascia and what it means to you and what it could mean to and for me
    -More posts about a single type of lift where you go into true detail
    Everyone is asking for this! Whether it’s lunging, rowing, benching, deadlifting, whatever else we all really love to hear EVERYTHING about a lift. I can find 100 rowing articles and videos that teach me “perfect” form but never mention scapular depression or recommend protraction at the beginning of each rep, that’s all thanks to you that I know that.
    -A post about “The Little Things”
    There’s little things we all do that added up probably do a lot for our fitness and health, like making it really dark in the room we sleep in, doing really light band work, getting a good grip on a weight, etc.

    Those are all just some ideas, but really if you just keep it up I’ll be more than happy. Even if you never wrote again my copy of Assess and Correct and I would be grateful and keep learning all throughout next year.


    • Dylan –

      Wow – thanks for taking the time to write all that!

      I sincerely appreciate it and you’ve given me some great food for thought.

      Thanks again brother!


  9. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the awesome blog and great articles!

    Here are some things I’d like to see covered in more depth:

    -How to really understand and train the shoulders/upper back/chest for balance and injury prevention. I’m not sure this has been covered in a comprehensive post similar to the deadlift one. I’m talking about all the functions of the shoulder/low and upper traps and the pecs, i.e., -scap elevation/depression/protraction/retraction, flexion, extension, int/ext rotation, add/abd, etc. As well, things to look out for – i.e., impingement. Recommended exercises/contraindicated exercises for the masses. Basically a “how to” understand this part of the body and some prescriptions for balance and performance.

    -Anything else on Self Myofascial Release. Your ebook on this is amazing! Reading the comment above it appears Daniel is really interested in fascia and tissue health as well. Anything regarding your “advanced” thoughts on stretching, the why the how etc. There’s so much advice out there it’s hard to make sense of it all – I suppose it’s a “it depends” situation as it relates to what the athlete in question wants to achieve and their programming background. It’d be nice to have some specific advice for things like – how to stretch after a deadlift day or an upper body push/pull day for example. Basically any info that can help us feel better and improve performance. Weight lifting is very yang, and I feel like we could all use some more yin as it relates to restoration and maintenance.

    -A post on workout accessories, the pros cons etc. This could be anything from knee wraps to wrist wraps, knee sleeves, bench shirts. Basically the reason behind why somebody would want to use these tools, their advantages/disadvantages etc.

    -Risto above asked for an “Anatomy for Beginners” post. I think that could be interesting as it relates to lifting. Basic explanations of what’s going on in the body during various lifts/core moves etc. Basically a guide where if I had to explain to a newbie in a few minutes whats happening during different lifts, then I could get the main points across.

    -Anything to do with advanced techniques on the “perfect rep” / max tension. I heard your interview with Pavel from a while back and liked when you guys discussed this. He talks extensively about this topic and I thought it’d be interesting to hear you expand on in depth. This is a qualitative aspect of a workout that I think sometimes gets overlooked in the face of mechanical technique. In other words, how do you really dial up your body for a lift?

    -Things I learned in 2011 post. It’s nice to see what’s percolating inside the best minds in the industry.

    I think that’s it! 🙂

    All the best in 2012!


  10. Mike

    What a great year of information and dedication! Thanks so much for staying on top of everything.

    Personally, I would enjoy more of your long posts with videos from youtube sprinkled through. I’m not saying that every article needs to be drawn out, but like in your top-10 list, you have a few very important topics that are thoroughly and imaculatley addressed… as they need to be.

    The youtube videos where you provide a commentary over your assistant performing exercises and movements both correctly and incorrectly are really nice. They allow one to see what’s correct, what’s not and if they are inbetween, infer slight tweeks to start performing the exercises/movements correctly.

    Once again, Bravo, and I can’t wait to see what you will churn out for 2012!


  11. I’m with Mitch, I’d love to read more in-depth about the shoulders. With most folks today being in positions of internal rotation and hunched over a desk, computer or car steering wheel, being able to better help them (and myself) understand and be more conscious of their posture and possibly give them some more ideas on how to open up, bring the scapula back down into the natural position.

    I struggle with impingement in my shoulders and it got so bad and restricting me in sport that I finally swallowed my pride and had to ask for help (big step for me)from the best massage therapist and strength coach in my area. Together they are getting me back into working order but any additional info and ideas I can gather the better.

    Thanks for the awesome posts in 2011, looking forward to 2012!

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